An 18-year-old Santa Maria man is in jail after he allegedly assaulted, kidnapped and attempted to rape a 15-year-old acquaintance on Wednesday.
Shortly after 2 p.m., Nicholas Padilla was driving in the 2600 block of W. Main Street in Santa Maria with the girl when he stopped his car and began striking the teen, according to a press release. A witness attempted to stop the assault.
Padilla then fled with the girl’s feet hanging out of the passenger side window. The witness called 9-1-1 and followed Padilla’s car.
A short time later, Padilla stopped his vehicle a few miles north of Casmalia, held a knife to the girl’s neck and attempted to rape her, according to a press release. Padilla then carried the girl to the back of his vehicle and attempted to shove her into the trunk.
The victim managed to break free and run to the witness who was on the phone with 9-1-1.
Deputies arrested Padilla on charges of kidnapping, sexual assault with intent to commit rape, domestic violence and criminal threats and booked him into the Lompoc City Jail with his bail set at $1 million.
The sheriff’s office is commending the witness who provided up-to-date information to deputies as they responded to the assault. Sheriff’s officials are also reminding residents that if they witness a crime they should watch from a safe distance and report the incident to law enforcement.